To watch TV, there is the traditional antenna option, cable or dish/satellite. There is stiff competition between cable and dish providers about the amount of HD (High Definition) channels offered and DVR recording abilities. DVR is Digital Video Recording, which means you can record or pause television programs, and a specific box has to be purchased to have this option. Most significant differences between providers are the amount of shows that can be recorded at the same time and if viewing recorded shows in different rooms is possible.When choosing a provider, check about availability in your area first. High fiber optic cable is not yet installed in all areas; specifically, if the home is located farther out. Some apartment complexes only offer cable and don’t allow installations of a dish.

Antenna

To receive TV channels, all that is needed is a TV with a built-in antenna or external antenna. The TV needs to support digital programming or, for older TVs, a digital converter box needs to be purchased as analog signals are no longer broadcasted. Reception is free and no registration is required.

The main available channels with general focus on local news and daily or weekly shows are:

  • KPRC – NBC – Channel 2
  • KUHT – PBS – Channel 8 (public television)
  • KHOU – CBS – Channel 11
  • KTRK – ABC – Channel 13
  • KTXH – MyNetworkTV – Channel 20
  • KRIV – FOX – Channel 26
  • KIAH – CW – Channel 39

Cable

Cable is often offered as a package deal with phone and Internet. It is advisable to check with the providers for offers if more than one service is required.

To sign up for cable TV, you will need to provide a Texas driver’s license or some other form of ID number and a social security number. If you do not have a social security number yet, it is recommended to obtain one as soon as possible or try to get the service through your employer. The cable companies will also run a credit check or require a higher deposit. The installation time can range from within days up to a waiting period of one month depending on the provider. For installation, you will need to be at your residence and scheduled times are in half days, like morning or afternoon. You will be required to be present that entire half of the day to make sure the technician has access. They will leave a cable box, hook up everything and program the settings for you. The average cost for cable can range from $20-200 per month depending on which package is selected, with the more expensive packages including premium movie, sport and/or international channels.

These are common cable providers and their available international programming in the Houston area. It is always recommended to check with them about the latest programming as they may have added more international channels:

  • Comcast, 1-800-266-2278 – http://www.comcast.com
    International channels offered but check with your zip code for availability: Arabic, Chinese, Filipino, French, German, Greek, Israeli, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, South Asian, Vietnamese (may add German in the future)
  • AT&T, 800-288-2020, http://www.att.com/u-verse
    International channels offered but check with your zip code for availability: Arabic, Mandarin-Chinese, Filipino, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, South Asian (i.e. Indian), Vietnamese

Satellite

Satellite service offers the largest amount and greatest variety of international channels. Dish Network, for example, offers 28 languages and over 150 international channels. Some apartments may not allow installation of a dish for satellite TV and it is important to check with the apartment complex prior to moving in. Also, make sure the patio or balcony will face the direction of the satellite when picking the apartment and ensure that there are not trees or other buildings blocking the sight. Generally, the dish should point south or southwest, but check with the dish provider for exact information.

To get signed up for satellite TV, you will need to provide a TX driver’s license or some other form of ID number and a social security number. If you do not have a social security number yet, it is recommended to obtain one as soon as possible or try to get the service through your employer. As with the cable companies, a credit check is necessary or require a higher deposit. If you have no credit history established yet, there will be a charge for the activation or a deposit required.

The installation time is generally within a few days. For installation, you will need to be at your residence and scheduled times are in half days, like morning or afternoon. You will be required to be present that entire half of the day to make sure the technician has access. They will perform the installation of the dish, leave a satellite box, hook up everything and program the settings for you.

The average cost for satellite TV can range from $50-200 per month depending on which package is selected, with the more expensive packages including premium movie, sport or international channels.

These are common satellite providers and their available international programming in the Houston area. Chose the package that is appealing to you. There are no extra costs, the dish is free and the equipment fee for the receiver and controls are included as a lease in the package price.

    • Dish Network, 1-888-825-2557 – http://www.dishnetwork.com
      International channels: Arabic, Bangla, Bengali, Brazilian, Chinese, Filipino, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Israeli, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Malyalam, Nepali, Pan African, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Taiwanese, Tamil, Telugu, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese
    • Direct TV, 1-888-777-2454 – http://www.directv.com
      Brazilian, Cantonese, Greek, Filipino, Korean, Polish, Mandarin, Russian, South Asian, Spanish, Vietnamese
Top